Have you figured out if you’re making something food related for your Valentine this year? Or if you’re without a Valentine, have you decided how you’re going to treat yourself? Because you totally deserve it?
If not, I’m here to the rescue with a super easy but uniquely flavored brownie recipe. Brownies can totally be a romantic food. Sure, they’re maybe not as cutesy as chocolate-dipped strawberries or warm chocolate lava cake…but they’re definitely as delicious. Brownies rank up there as one of my favorite desserts. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: I’m much more inclined to select a cookie or brownie as my dessert over anything else. Yup. That’s right. Over cheesecake. Over cake. Over creme brûlée. And I’m OK with that.
That said, I’m actually kind of surprised that it’s taken me this long to share a brownie recipe with you all. I mean, I DID share this amazingly awesome brownie ice cream cake with you guys over the summer, and all these months later, it still blows my mind…but I haven’t shared a straight-up brownie yet. Shocking! I’m fixing that today.
Do you prefer fudgy or cakey brownies? I am all about the fudgy brownies. I almost like them to taste like they are slightly undercooked. My perfect brownie should melt away in your mouth, minimal chewing involved. And it should definitely be studded with extra chocolate throughout. Because really, you can NEVER have enough chocolate. I like my brownies to be dense with rich, dark chocolate flavor. This recipe delivers on all those fronts, and is definitely my go-to brownie recipe. It’s a great base for whatever flavors you want to incorporate (one of my favorites being coffee…mocha brownies are basically heaven on earth).
Speaking of flavors, let’s talk cardamom. I am a cardamom FAH-REAK. It’s one of my favorite spices to cook with, both in savory and sweet ways. It’s warm and spicy and floral and awesome. If you’re looking for a way to warm up those tastebuds, throw some cardamom into the mix. Seriously. It’s the best. It makes everything taste extra special, and it takes chocolate to a whole new level of incredible. The orange and chocolate combo is nothing new, but the cardamom enhances both these flavors in such a beautiful way.
For me, these brownies were a no brainer. They are the perfect sweet, decadent, and slightly different treat. Ideal for sharing with a special someone.
Or for eating all by yourself. There’s something to be said for that latter option.
No judgement here.
2 oz unsweetened baking chocolate
1 stick of unsalted butter
¾ cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Zest of 1 orange
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
Pinch of fine salt
¼ cup all-purpose flour
¾ cup semisweet chocolate chips or chunks
Zest and juice of 1 orange
2 cups powdered sugar
Preheat the oven to 325°F and line an 8 x 8-inch baking pan with parchment. Butter the parchment and sides of the pan.
Place the chocolate and butter in a microwave-safe bowl and heat in the microwave in 20-second increments, stirring each time, until the chocolate and butter have melted. Allow to cool slightly.
Whisk the sugar, eggs, vanilla, zest, cardamom, and salt into the chocolate-butter mixture. Mix well until smooth. Place the chocolate chips in a small mesh strainer over the bowl and then pour the flour over the chips. Sift the flour through the strainer, which will simultaneously coat the chocolate chips in flour. Stir the flour into the batter until just combined and fold in the flour-coated chips.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 25-35 minutes or until the brownies are just set. I like my brownies fudgy, so I take them out around 30 minutes.
Allow the brownies to cool completely and then top with the glaze. The glaze will need 15 minutes or so to set up (I put mine in the fridge to help it along). Once the glaze is hardened, slice and serve!
Whisk together the juice, zest, and roughly 1 cup of the powdered sugar until smooth. If the glaze is too runny, keep adding powdered sugar as needed to thicken it up. Pour over the cooled brownies.
As you can see from the pictures, my glaze was still fairly runny. I took the pictures before allowing the glaze to set, which is what I wanted for a gooey effect. The glaze will definitely harden up more the longer it sits.